Thursday, March 5, 2015

February Mini Reviews

This post is late, but it's here! I didn't quiet reach my goal last month, but I did read, which is the whole point of the challenge.

Woven by David Power's King and Micheal Jensen
David was the very first blogger friend I had the opportunity to meet in person. That was three and half years ago. He told me his book was called Woven, and that it was about a ghost that could be stitched back to life with a magic needle. Naturally, that was the coolest thing I had ever heard of, and I was dying to read it.
But I had to wait. I almost got read to read it a year and a half ago...then they switched publishers in series of FORTUNATE events. Anyway, the book was everything I expected it to be and more. I loved the world Michael and David created, and I haven't read a High Fantasy in a long time. It was fantastic!








Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
When I was at the bookstore seeing if I could get my hands on Woven early, I decided to pick up a
few books, and this was the first one I read. Mostly, I wanted to read it because it's a bestseller, and therefore I can learn from it. I also LOVED Fangirl. I love that book so hard. But this one...I liked Fangirl more, sorry! This was good. The characters were interesting, and I liked their relationship, but, I dunno. Fangirl is closer to my heart, I guess. Even if this book did have a beautiful Korean boy in it.

*FYI* This book contains a lot of swearing.



Silent Beauty by Krista McLaughlin
Okay, I'm cheating a little on this one. The book isn't out, so don't bother looking for it. I just happened to have the privilege of reading this book, as a beta reader, again. The story is about a mostly-deaf girl and the cute nerd she falls in love with.
I'm certain Krista will find success with this book in the future, because the premise is just too cute. I love it.
(and I made this cover, BTW)


Monday, February 2, 2015

January Mini-reviews

Fifty books in twenty-fifteen starts now! I only read two books in January, but I started my challenge late. Both these titles were fantastic, which gives me so much hope for an incredible year ahead. Let's get to it, shall we?


Remake, Ilima Todd
Let me just say, as an author, I wouldn't touch this subject with a ten foot pole. A lot of questions are asked through this story. What is choice? What is gender? What defines a gender? What defines a person? Does the way we look have an influence on our choices?
Ilima took all these issues head on, and tackled them beautifully. More than just asking these important questions, Ilima tells a deeply personal story about girl who doesn't really know where she fits in her world, and has no idea what choices she wants to make.
All the ideas presented in this novel are still floating around my head. I never once felt like I was being told how to think. Rather, I felt like the character was simply learning from the life that was handed to her.
I still have a lot of questions, mostly about the boy Nine chooses to be with, but I suppose I'll just have to wait for the next book to get my answers. I highly recommend this book for teens.


                                                                           The Unhappening of Genesis Lee, Shallee McAruthur

From the moment I heard the premise of this book, my interest was peaked. I couldn't wait for it to be published and for me to be able to read it.
I mean, not only does Genesis remember EVERYTHING, but she wears her memories like jewelry. Right from the beginning, when a few memories are stolen, I was hooked.
Shallee is a masterful writer with an amazing sense of characterization. My only complaint is the overwhelming amount of technology (not a bad thing) but I found myself having a hard time keeping a few gadgets straight, and remembering how everything worked. Honestly, I think it was more my fault because I simply forgot, it didn't detract too much from the story.
And the ending...what an amazing ending. It was so powerful, I cried. Genesis and Kalan have carved a special place in my heart. I love them dearly <3 


 Have you read these books? What was your favorite book in January?

Friday, January 30, 2015

Stealing the Stars is Drafted! Again!

Honestly, I don't know what possessed me to do it.

Three years ago I wrote a book poorly about a girl who could use natural disasters in an X-men kinda way. I named it Stealing the Stars, edited part of the first chapter, then gave up on it. I think the original word count was around 40K. It had all kinds of plot twists that didn't make sense, and it ended very abruptly. I'm pretty sure I even ended it in the middle of a sentence. Kidding.


I wrote some other books after that one. Most notably, Existence. Which was also poorly written. And What Not to Do When You're Falling in Love. I queried both books with marginal success--meaning I received small press offers--which I ended up not taking. At the time it felt like the world was ending to turn down those contracts, but I'm glad I did. I wasn't ready yet.


In between those two books, I decided to write Stealing the Stars again. The book about the girl with the natural disaster thing. Once more, it didn't work, and I ended scrapping it. 

I published an Anthology, and wrote two more books--The Definition of Awkward and The Home Ec. Boys. Which I also did nothing with.

Three more times--amidst the madness--I tried to write Stealing the Stars. Three more times, I failed.

Then came 2014.



I didn't give up writing. I never once gave up hope that I would be a published author. I started a few books with high hopes, but didn't finish. I did, however, write four fanfictions that averaged about 30K, each.

It was getting close to the end of the year and I started to panic. In 2013 I wrote two books and published an Anthology! I felt like there was something wrong with me. I couldn't even get ideas. My writing career was over, or so I thought.



But slowly, slowly, my girl with the powers over natural disasters came back to me. I decided to ditch the orignal plot completely because obviously that wasn't working out, and start fresh. New names, new ideas, new everything. Except my girl, and the boy she would fall in love with.


It took some brainstorming, but I realized one of the problems before was that I was trying to tell the boy, Kai Andrew's, perspective without actually changing point of views. I had never tried to switch between character POV's and I was hesitant. Because that was hard. And it was.



I wanted to quit this book, again. I don't know why it always called to me, begging to be written, but it did. Every other idea flew out of my head until this book stepped up and said, "I'm still here, write me!"

40K in, the plot was not heading the right direction. I started re-reading, only to find Andrew's voice was still not heard. He needed to be written in 3rd person past tense, and my girl was going to stay in 1st person present tense.

Again. I didn't want to do it. Because it's hard.



But I did anyway.

After my re-read, I deleted ten thousand words. That was almost a months worth of labor on the book that did, yet did not, want to be written. I pushed forward despite this.

The words still came slow. Each day I'd spend an hour on 300 words. It was painstaking.



One Saturday morning I woke up early, ready to tackle this book once and for all. I wrote two-thousand words. Finally, I was finding my groove again!

The very same day, my computer died. Every last word I had written that morning was lost.



Quitting. Quitting sounded sooo good. Quitting would be easy, but quitting also meant I wasn't going anywhere.

300 words a day. One hour of complete torture--to the brink of madness. But I didn't stop. I kept trying every day and, eventually, the words flowed.

For two months I'd been saying I was going to finish this book and, dangit, I wanted to.



Last week, I had a final breakthrough. Cassie Mae (a.k.a. my idol) shared this blog post with me. I skimmed over the first part of it, and decided to give it a try. I wrote 15K in three day.

Stealing the Stars, the book that had been so loved and never brought to pass was finally complete. And, yes, I will query it. After a year of drought, I'm ready. Never have I been so excited to finish something.

When this book is all pretty edited, I'm going to start on the next one in series. And let me tell you. I can't wait. Seriously.

Monday, January 19, 2015

2015 Book Challenge

I know. It's a tad late to hop on the book challenge wagon, but last year I tried to do one and failed miserably. I think I only read fifteen books last year. That's just not acceptable for an author, so I'm going to step up my game.

My twenty-fifteen goal is fifty books. Two years ago, I completed that challenge by blogging mini-reviews every month.  So what guess what? My mini-reviews are making a comeback for twenty-fifteen!



To some of you, fifty books isn't a lot, but I don't read that fast, and I have a side obsession Kdramas which takes up a lot of my time. However, with the right books, I'll be able to do it.

Wish me luck for the year!  What are you reading?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

FREE Cover Design

Every writer daydreams about the perfect cover. The one that speaks to the audience and yells, "BUY ME!" Well, folks, I'd like to make that cover for you.

For the past year or so, I've been interested in cover design. I've made quite a few poor attempts at an amazing cover, but I have yet to make a home run.

What I feel like I lack---more than anything---is experience. I've daydreamed plenty of my own covers, but I have yet to work with an author one-on-one and think outside of myself. This is where you, dear reader, come in.

I'm giving away a FREE cover design, or re-design.

This is not going to be a drawing. This is going to be about whoever is interested in working with me as a serious cover designer. I want to take someone's vision, bring it to life, and tweek it until they find it satisfactory.

Whomever accepts my offer is under no obligation to use the cover I create. It's about me gaining experience in a field I'd like to capitalize on, someday. Just like writing, I want to make sure I'm a pro first.

Here's a sampling of covers I've made, to give interested takers an idea of what I'm best at.




 If you're interested, or know of an interested party, please leave a comment below. And spread the word. I'd be really sad if I didn't get to do any cover designs. Thank you!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Something Wicked Bloghop

It's been like FOREVER since I've done a bloghop. I just happened to see this one on G+, being hosted by my two favorite Krista's, and I thought, why not? Here's the deets:

Share 400 words or less to about a real villain, one you created in a novel, or a flash fiction. Your villain doesn't have to be necessarily a murderer or stalker, but any anti-hero in your writing will work just fine!



I decided to go with Flash Fiction since it's been a while. Really, it's good to exercise that part of my brain. Win-win.
***


“Did you really think it would be that easy?” Hunter says, dangling the watch in front of my face.


I hold my breath. One wrong move and the watch could break, destroying our time. Hunter knows that better than anyone, but he swings it anyway.

“I’m sorry,” I say, falling to my knees. 

Dust puffs from the floor, a rat skittering to its hideout. All the clocks in the room start to ring. Their phantom song dwarfing all conversation.

One.

Two.

Three.

Four.

Hunter smirks. “I warned you. Time is fragile. You can’t use the watch without consequences.”

“Not this,” I say, my breath coming faster. “Anything but this.”

Hunter snatches the watch back into his gloved hand and steps into the light. Shadows wave over his half snarled face. 

He tips his neck back so I can see his grotesqueness more clearly. “This should’ve been warning enough.”
  
I lower my head, my brown hair falling around my peripheral vision. He’s right. I knew the second I took possession of the watch I was asking for trouble.

“All I ever wanted,” I whisper, “was for him to live.”

Hunter squats, caressing the place under my chin so I have to look up. “And he will, but this is the price you have to pay.”

I loved Jameson ferociously. Each moment we spent together was more passionate, more dangerous than the last. When he died, I died too. 

I thought if I could travel through timeif I could just stop him from walking out into the cold nightI would be whole. Hunter warned me. Told me there were drawbacks. I just never thought it would be this.

“Sweet, sweet, Chastity,” Hunter says, tipping his head in a bird-like fashion. “How ironic someone with so much darkness in them has a such a pure name.” He laughs, flipping my chin up, and standing.

“You already had your chance, Chastity. You made your choice the second you went back in time.”

That's when the anger hits, hot in my belly. If I have to endure this, I want bring others pain too.

“Now he’s alive again, yes," Hunter says, "But he will never, ever know you existed.”

I wanted Jameson to live, and instead I created my own personal nightmare.

If I can’t have Jameson, no one can. I’m pretty sure that makes me the monster.

***

Hope ya'll have a safe and spooky Halloween!


Monday, October 27, 2014

There are Characters Everywhere

This past weekend, my husband's uncle and his family came to visit us. Houston is HUGE and there's a lot to see. We gave them a list of ideas and let them decide what they wanted to do.

Sunday morning came, bright and clear with prefect temperatures. They really wanted to see NASA, and I suggested we could walk the beach in the evening.

Not everything works out as planned. We arrived at NASA, pulled over to the little park out front, and had a conference. It dawned on us in that moment just how expensive a day at NASA would be and how beautiful the sunshine was. So instead of walking around indoors and looking at cool space stuff, we decided to go straight to the beach.


Because the excursion was mostly unplanned, we came unprepared. We didn't have food. We didn't have water. We didn't have sunscreen. None of us had brought our bathing suits. Some of us were in long pants. Some of us were in long sleeves, but we went anyway.

It was kind of silly, going to the water fully clothed, and playing anyway. There was a moment---after my toddler hadn't slept all day, and had a diaper full of sand---when I went for a walk (pushing a stroller) with nothing but my thoughts to occupy me.

Galveston is as diverse as the seashells that line the shore. I couldn't help but notice all the characters as I strolled. Here I was in jeans and tee, come to play in the water. I wasn't the only one in that situation.

There was a man in a full out business suit sitting on a concrete bench, contemplating the horizon. There was another lady with long braided hair throwing crumbs to a hungry pigeon. A homeless man pointed out a girl in a bikini to me, though I'm not sure why.       

It got me thinking, what were these people's stories? What brought them to this beach on a clear day in October? Was it to escape? Was it to breathe? Was it just because they knew that sun and surf is perfect combination to rejuvenate?

Whatever the reason was, I wanted their stories to be known. Maybe that's why I write. To put true human emotions on a page and share it with the world. That's the amazing thing about books. Even though we can't know every story, we can share in other lives for a short time. What a truly precious gift that is.